19 JUNE 1964, Page 11

De Mortuls Nil Nisi Politics

Obituary notices in The Times may seem at first sight an unlikely medium for party politics. Little did I know. In the issue of June 4 E. W. writes of Sir Henry Spencer, of Richard Thomas and Baldwins, that he believed in national owner- ship and 'had he lived he would have been a valued adviser to a Labour administration.' Next day Mr. G. C. R. Eley, chairman of RTB, recorded his 'astonishment' at this statement, and added that he had 'never heard Sir Henry Spencer express views in favour of the nation- alisation of the steel industry. . . .' Mr. Eley ought to know. But on June 11 along comes Mr. C. H. de Peyer, who confirms E. W.'s state- ment 'in the most positive fashion.' Mr..Peyer is, of .course, neutral in this dispute. He wrote the Guardian articles advocating steel national- isation, and also a booklet sponsored by the Sunday Citizen on the same subject. Sir Henry Spencer is dead and cannot settle the argument for us. All of which leaves only one mystery un- solved. Who is E. W.? Could it possibly be Mrs. Eirene White, MP? That at least is what a bird tells me.